Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Name is URL


Imagine if Jesus came today instead of 2000+ years ago. Would he have only 12 facebook friends but 5000+ twitter followers? Would it all end with him getting "hacked" by Judas, Peter would de-friend him and his user name shut down only for Mary and Mary to find out on Sunday that there was a status saying, "I'm not here. I have risen."?

The internets can be a useful tool for pastors. I've given much pastoral care via facebook chat. But it can also lead to trouble. If the chat gets too deep I always ask to see the person in person. Emails and social media can often be misinterpreted and end up causing problems.

That is why I've been sitting around holding the URL http://untileveryonehears.com hostage for a few months now. When I saw that it was available, I thought "I have to have it!" Once I got it all I could think of was, "Now what am I going to do with it?"

So I've finally done something with it. If you go to the URL, you'll find my blog info, contact info and bio. There's nothing much there yet but its a start. I hope to place future books and training events on there but for now I've created something out of a shapeless void and if I do say so I think it is good. Maybe by the 7th release it'll even be very good.

Putting this out there is a bit scary. It means I've got some work to do. But I'm excited about the possibilities and even if not much comes out of it, I can at least say I've got my own URL.

Happy Easter! Until Everyone Hears,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

An Ode to Bill S.




If music be the food of love play on,
And dance until my soul is full of you.
You who spoke of great love both here and gone,
I confess my esteem by this I do.

As I teach to our Fair Youth about love,
and show them ancient writings full of hope.
I oft focus only on love above
and dare I mention your words of love? - nope.

But as I ponder all things happily,
And celebrate your birth on this good day,
I honor your sonnets here sappily;
Bless your words and all the beauty they say.

Thus thank you Bill S. and may you be blessed
For we remember you well in heaven's rest.

Until Everyone Hears,

Friday, April 22, 2011

The End is Near



The end of all things is near... 1 Peter 4:7a

It really does seem that all good things must come to an end. I've actually made it blogging through each day of Lent (tomorrow's blog is finished too). Its been an eye opening journey this year. Here are the lessons I've learned.

1) Having the blog to write each day has given me something to look forward to while I'm on leave. I'm not sure I would have written each day if I were still working/commuting full-time. When I went on leave, I could easily have napped all day and ignored my spirit, but by blogging on scripture I have given myself some structure that I've always needed. We never know when the end really is but if it is near, then having some structure in your life keeps thoughts of chaos at bay.

2) Encouraging words (even if its from my sisters-in-law) really do motivate me to write on days when I'd rather not. I'm glad that I got something out of writing but its also good to know that a few of you got something out of it too. Encourage someone today. You never know how far it will go.

3) Never give up. I try and repeat to myself "You can do it!" when I get discouraged. We don't always have "water boys" in our life to cheer us on so sometimes our motivation has to come from within. When I broke my wrist two weeks ago, I wasn't sure I was going to continue. But I learned the art of one handed typing and kept at it. It's given me a new appreciation for people who have bigger physical limitations and still accomplish great things. If they can do that, I can write my meager blog with a cast on.

Happy Easter and may all your days remind you of new life!

Until Everyone Hears,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Signs




For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom... 1 Corinthians 1:22

There are two places near my home where there are signs for "No Jake Brake". For years I passed these signs and wondered what they meant. When I finally found out I thought, "Hmm interesting but not something I need to worry about." So I forgot about it.

Then my kids started to read and one day we passed one of these signs. They wanted to know what it meant and my answer was "Um... well... it has something to do with brakes... and trucks...?" I finally re-googled the term and was correct. Some semis have these types of brakes that are helpful when traversing hills or curves but they are quite loud so these signs are sometimes places near residential areas if semis regularly use that road.

I am no different than the Jews or Gentiles in Corinth. I want God to give me a sign and I feel that when I get a sign I will be wiser. But I often wonder if God is up there thinking, "I came from heaven to teach a message of love. I died on the cross for your salvation. I gave you the Bible for wisdom. What more of sign do you need? Get out there and love one another!"

I know that God is complicated and will always be more than I can understand but sometimes I really think that it really is just that easy. God gave us a sign a long time ago and we've just forgotten the meaning.

So get out there and love one another today. Easter should be all the sign we need.

Until Everyone Hears,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Cloud of Witnesses




Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

I cannot read this scripture today without thinking of it out of context. I start working out with a personal trainer tomorrow. I am in need of a regular exercise routine and feel like I've lost my motivation. The healthy benefits that I know I need from getting back into shape don't encourage me. Getting back into my happy sized jeans doesn't do it either. I need someone to push me for a bit in order to "lay aside the weight" and "run." (and oh how closely that weight does cling)

Things were easier when I was in Operation Boot Camp (which I can't do right now due to the broken wrist). I got up every morning and did powerful workouts with people who were just as insane as I was to get up that early for exercise. It was also easier back in my 20's, last week, when I had a set time to meet my friends at the gym and no kids to worry about getting ready for school the next day.

There was always someone pushing me to exercise. Now I need that again and am happy to be able to find it.

When the scripture says that "we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses", it is supposed to help us do what a personal trainer would do. Inspire, motivate, lead by example, and push when necessary. That is what all of the stories from the Bible are meant to do and since we have these we are able to persevere.

I only wish it worked with weight management too.

Who is motivating you spiritually today? If you don't have someone, find someone or ping me. I'd be happy to help. And if you have all the motivation you need who are you pushing and inspiring to have a greater relationship with God?

Until Everyone Hears,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Troubled




After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, "Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me." John 13:21

"They" say the Jesus experienced every human emotion. I'm not sure if that's true or not. Women have more emotional crayons in their box so I'm skeptical that he hit all of them (being a male and all). But "troubled in spirit" is one I can understand.

I've gotten some sad news today from two different friends. And although things are going really well in my life right now, when you mess with my friends it troubles my spirit.

There's no known cure for spirit troubling. For the most part prayer, talking it out with others, and time seem to do the trick. It doesn't take away the cause of the troubled spirit - just manages the symptoms.

Its bad enough to get bad news. Worse in some cases to be betrayed. But to know before hand would be particularly troubling. I don't know how Jesus did it. I don't know how he hung out with Judas that entire time knowing that he was going to be betrayed by Judas.

And yet, I know that Jesus loved him. I know that if he had to do it over again, he'd most likely take the same path. Jesus' actions changed the world and even though he had to go through some moments of troubled spirit (not to mention what happens later in the week), he'd do it again because he loves us.

He loves us beyond what is human. He loves us for eternity.

Until Everyone Hears,

Monday, April 18, 2011

If I had a nickel...


My mouth will tell of your righteous acts of your deeds of salvation all day long, though their number is past my knowledge. Psalm 71: 15

You know the saying. "If I had a nickel for every time you _________, I'd be rich."

I have several things that I'd like to fill that blank in with:

1) Shane leaves his dirty socks on the living room floor
2) Dori said "NO!"
3) John slept late
4) The neighbor's cat was in my yard taunting my dog
5) My dad asks a waitress (at any restaurant) for an F-O
6) The bathrooms at Waffle House (any location) were dirty.
7) My kids made me smile
8) My husband made me laugh
9) Someone misspelled my last name
10) Someone mispronounced my last name

But if I had even a penny for all of God's righteous acts or deeds of salvation, I think we'd have an economic catastrophe.

God's goodness is immeasurable both in quantity and quality. I can't out give, out love, or out bless like God does. The best I can hope to do is reflect a little bit of His goodness and give, love and bless to the best of my ability. These are the riches that I can acquire and because of God's righteousness we can all share in the fortune.

Until Everyone Hears,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Reflections


EASTER REFLECTION

Jesus helps us to see the daily resurrections
that can transform our world and ourselves.
This Easter we can catch a glimpse of the Risen Christ
and our Risen Selves by . . .
helping to transform another's hurt into forgiveness,
. . . transforming our dying planet
into a world of interdependence and beauty,
. . . freeing ourselves from anything
which might hold us in the tomb.
Resurrection is about allowing ourselves and others
to live alleluias every day of our lives.
It is believing we are all one.
It is about hope and being set free.
And, yes, it is about a cosmic leap of faith!

Reflect Joy in your own life !



Shared from the Ministry of Arts and Marilyn C. Roberts

Friday, April 15, 2011

Renovations


In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. Ephesians 1:21-22

When I was in elementary school, my grandparents added onto their home. They enclosed the carport and made it into a living room. This gave them space to have a proper dining room where their old living room was and opened up the kitchen for more work/cooking space. If you didn't know what to look for you might not have noticed that the house wasn't built this way from the beginning, but if you paid attention, you'd notice that the entry from the kitchen to the living room was one step up and there was a window from the kitchen into the living room.

Making structural changes to a home can be a tricky thing. You've got to know if a wall is load bearing before you change it. You need to know how things are wired, where the pipes are laid, how things are insulated, what the codes are, and a whole bunch of other things that I know absolutely nothing about.

It can be messy and costly but in the end, if you are lucky, you'll be able to enjoy your home more and invite more people to join you as well.

Jesus' ministry did more than just spread a good message. It united Jews and Gentiles. It merged two homes together to make one big house. Of course there were several questions during the construction phase - like is the kitchen going to be kosher? But overall Christianity is meant to unite.

So I ask you today: why are we still so divided as a religion? How can we come together spiritually to be a dwelling place for God?

As we approach this holiest of weeks on our calendar, think of the message that can bring us together and focus on building a house that will grow into a holy temple for the Lord. This is what will enable us to see the kingdom of God and realize its glory.

Until Everyone Hears,

Spiritual Cleansing




"Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart." 1 Peter 1:22

I find the whole cleansing fads that are going on very interesting. People are actually paying money so that they can poop a lot. Not that pooping is a bad thing. Everybody does it. But is it necessary to bring on such great quantities of it? I guess you could make an argument.

Cleansing from clutter is also a big fad and I'm a big fan of this one. I'm not the pack rat that a lot of people are. I regularly go through closets and junk drawers so that they don't become overwhelming. But I have seen people's basements that are overstocked with out of date mayonnaise and can see the benefit of physically cleansing some rooms of your home.

Spiritual cleansing has not caught on as a fad. I'm not sure why. It seems to me that if you are de-cluttering your body and home - why not the soul as well?

I have a specific spiritual cleansing routine that I use. Sometimes I have to do some extra cleansing so I'll concentrate these actions over a weekend, but for the most part this is just maintenance as part of my everyday God-time.

1) I keep a prayer journal. I'm at a point now that if I don't write something down I'll forget it so this is a sure fire way to make sure I actually prayed for something. Plus I get the bonus of seeing how the prayer was answered when I look back over it weeks later.

2) I confess when I need to. And if possible I confess to someone else in addition God (especially if I've wronged someone else). This just lays it all on the table and reminds me that I'm not God. I've still got a way to go and I need God's help to get through it.

3) I praise God. This usually takes the form of a prayer walk, reading scripture, or just counting my blessings. Its like when you clean out a closet and have to put stuff back in. You don't just throw back in what you want to keep. You try to put it back in neatly. That's why the praise portion is so important. After I get rid of all the "junk", I've got to fill my soul back up with good "stuff". Praises to God is "good stuff."

So enjoy the cleansing and I promise not to blog about any colon products I try out.

Until Everyone Hears,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Call to Action


"Therefore prepare your minds for action..." 1 Peter 1:13a

Christianity is not a philosophical religion. It is a religion of action. Jesus did not come to deliver a message about love and grace so that we would sit around and think about it. He wanted us to think and then do something about it.

So when Peter says to prepare our minds for action, what does that mean?

I guess part of that depends on what you are called to do. It probably means making a to do list and learning what it takes to get it done. As fulfilling as it can be, I think it would interesting here to think about what you DON'T need to do to prepare for a call to action.

1) Don't live in a bubble. Many people I know really like the Christian bubble. It's safe and happy. They think that if all their friends are Christians, then their kids are safe from evil. A call to action means that you need to get out and help others and sometimes the others might be a bit different from you.

2) Don't do it alone. Jesus didn't. He had 12 friends. Find someone to work with. You'll learn something new and have more fun doing it.

3) Don't ever give up. Ministry can be hard. Whether you are a clergy person or a lay person, things aren't always easy as you try to make the world a better place. But don't let that distract you. Get back in the game and keep trying. You are making a difference!

Until Everyone Hears,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Here I AM!



"Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy." 1 Peter 1:8

My adorable daughter is sort of learning to play hide and seek. This weekend we took her camping and she started to play with the other children. She loved closing her eyes and showing off her counting skills. She laughed out loud when she found her brother behind a tree.

The part she wasn't too quick to catch onto is the hiding part. She would routinely hide in the last place she found her brother. Or she'd hide behind a tree that was so skinny it couldn't hide a super model. But the best part was when the seeker would get close she'd pop out and say "Here I am!"

God isn't playing hide and seek with us. He's just not visible in the way we think of seeing someone else. When we begin to really seek Him, we find that God is right there saying "Here I am!" to those who are looking and when we find Him it brings us indescribable joy.

Have fun seeking.

Until Everyone Hears,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Greatest Hits So Far!!


"...up to this day I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God."

I'm definitely too young for a greatest hits album (not to mention not talented enough), but as I sat lazily listening to music the other day I saw that PINK had a greatest hits album with an awesome title: "Greatest Hits So Far".

I often worry that I won't have anything to show for all I've done but my biggest worry is reflected in Paul's words from Acts 23:1 above. Regardless of what I've done, I want to be able to say that I've lived my life with a clear conscience. Not that I do everything perfectly but that I'm at a place where I feel His love in abundance and have reconciled where I need forgiveness.

Although I may not have a greatest hits so far album, I can post here a "greatest blogs so far" list for you. Enjoy!

1)I out-punted my coverage
2)Letter to Self
3)Dori wants to go back to McDonalds
4)The Right Mix
5)Google Me

Until Everyone Hears,

Monday, April 11, 2011

Greatest Hits So Far!!


"...up to this day I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God."

I'm definitely too young for a greatest hits album (not to mention not talented enough), but as I sat lazily listening to music the other day I saw that PINK had a greatest hits album with an awesome title: "Greatest Hits So Far".

I often worry that I won't have anything to show for all I've done but my biggest worry is reflected in Paul's words from Acts 23:1 above. Regardless of what I've done, I want to be able to say that I've lived my life with a clear conscience. Not that I do everything perfectly but that I'm at a place where I feel His love in abundance and have reconciled where I need forgiveness.

Although I may not have a greatest hits so far album, I can post here a "greatest blogs so far" list for you. Enjoy!

1)I out-punted my coverage
2)Letter to Self
3)Dori wants to go back to McDonalds
4)The Right Mix
5)Google Me

Until Everyone Hears,

Immeasurable


"...and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe," Ephesians 1:19

My son is getting into some complex math these days. I always thought that once you had to start memorizing formulas, you'd hit the big time of applied mathmatics and it was either uphill or downhill from there. Those of us on the mathlete track started to really train hard and enjoyed every minute of it. Those on the "will I really use this in life" track suffered through and hopefully made it out ok.

Power is one of those things that we can use a math formula to calculate. In calculating simple electrical power we simply multiply the voltage times the electrical current (P=VI or Joule's law for all the other mathletes).

So when scripture says that God has immeasurable power what does that mean? How does that affect our formula?

In the above formula there needs to be a change and a medium in order for the formula to measure accurately. I think that if we were to apply this formula to God (just for fun), we'd have to think about what an unchanging God would change in order to measure His power. We'd also have to figure out what medium God would use for His power. Just as we have gas, electric, solar etc as sources of power. God probably has many mediums of power as well.

From my experience it seems that God changes our hearts more than anything. I'm sure there are several other examples but to me the change of heart that a person can have after experiencing God is the most beautiful. As for medium, I've seen scripture, experience, and other people help in this transformation.

When you think about how our hearts and attitudes can change as a result of a Godly experience and how that affects change in us can affect others around, you no longer have a simple math formula. You've moved onto exponential change that leads to the infinite. And that's something that is immeasurable and amazing.

Until Everyone Hears,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by TS Eliot

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question . . .
Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?'
Let us go and make out visit.


In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.


The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, 'Do I dare?' and, 'Do I dare?
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair -
(They will say: 'How his hair is growing thin!'}
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin -
(They will say, 'But how his legs and arms are thin!')
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse

For I have known them all already, known them all -
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all -
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume
And how should I begin?

. . . . . .

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? . . .

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

. . . . . .

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep . . . tired . . . or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet - and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: 'I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all' -
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: 'That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.'

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor -
And this, and so much more? -
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow toward the window, should say:
'That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.'

. . . . . .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendent lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous -
Almost, at times, the Fool.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Woe


“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?'" Ezekiel 34:2

We all have heard the importance of putting on your own oxygen mask first in order better help others. Its true that we need to take care of ourselves but when we stop the care at that point we've made a big mistake.

God doesn't want us to live in a bubble surrounded by others like us who are all self sufficient. There are times when we all need to lean on each other and we need to focus our energy outwardly.

When you hear "churchy" people say this you either think that they are proselytizing or on some foreign mission trip, but in reality it could be something very simple. I've listed a few below. Find sometime today to focus outward with a random act of kindness. It helps to get rid of the "woe" that all those prophets liked to speak of.

1) Deliver some home cooked specialty to someone you know to show how much you appreciate him or her.
2) The next time you go to your favorite coffee shop, get check for the person after you.
3) Volunteer! Whether it’s donating a coat or helping out at the animal shelter, volunteering is a great way to spread kindness while helping in your community.
4) Hold the door for someone when exiting or entering a building. It’s so simple and can be easily overlooked as we rush around our daily lives.
5) Leave some notes of inspiration somewhere for a stranger to read. Apparently, “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” was found written on a placemat in a restaurant, and the phrase was thereby coined! You could probably make someone smile by leaving a note at the coffee shop that says, “Smile, you’re a great person!”

Until Everyone Hears,

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Permanent Record




If you, LORD, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you. Psalm 30:3-4

I was always scared of the words, "You don't want this to go on your permanent record." I never actually saw my permanent record and I'm not really sure who got to see it. I'm pretty sure all my principals had access to it. The colleges I applied to had part of it. And the Board of Ordained Ministry had it in triplicate and ancient Greek.

Throughout the years I've learned a few tricks about the "permanent record" that I'd like to share with you.

1) If something bad ends up on there, you can always say it was a "learning moment" for you and although you would never wish for that "incident" to happen again, you definitely are a better person because of the lessons learned.

2) Other people have equally as bad things on their permanent record. Try googling them and find out what their weaknesses are and you'll have some leverage.

3) God doesn't look at your permanent record just your final pass/fail grade so don't sweat the small stuff cause God is not a micro-manager.

I hope this helps you with any permanent record anxiety you might have. These rules don't work on social media statuses which are permanent even once deleted.

Until Everyone Hears,

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Generosity


"Or are you envious because I am generous?" Matthew 20: 15b

Do you ever play the lottery and mentally spend the money you would get if you won? To me that's the best part. The odds are so bad at winning that I really just enjoy the fun of hypothetically spending the money since I probably won't get to in reality.

My favorite parts of this exercise is the first things I'll use the money for and the last things. The first thing would be my tithe. I'm a tither so Id automatically give 10% to the church. I've worked in many churches and very few have ever said, "What do we do with all this extra money?" For once I'd love to give the church that challenge.

Then I'd finish the Dave Ramsey baby steps. Boring - I know - but very practical.

I'd finish up with some travel and generosity. I'd give to as many people and causes as I could.

Isn't it funny that giving away money would make me the happiest? I'd rejoice in helping others and hope they could pay it forward as well.

Perhaps that is what makes God the happiest. Its not that we've earned so much of His love but that He has so much to give that makes Him happy and when we are ready to receive it He rejoices with us.

Until Everyone Hears,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Discounts


Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor's, and to God the things that are God's. Mark 12:17

I love a good discount. Not because I'm such a great bargain shopper, but because I feel like I'm special when I get a deal. I know that everyone can get the same deal I do but I have paid full price enough times to know that when I get a deal, I should really appreciate it.

Money is one of those tricky topics in the church. Most people don't want to pay full price for Jesus. They want to give and not be guilted into a certain amount. Its pretty clear that 10% is the suggested donation but most people would really like a good discount most of the time.

What I see in this scripture here is that its not about the money. Sure Jesus wants us to change the world and that often involves money, but what he really wants is our attitude to change. Pay your taxes and try to get the best deals there that you can. Give back to God what He deserves. I promise you can't out give Him and any amount you give will be a great deal in return.

Until Everyone Hears,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Goggle Me


Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Jeremiah 1:5a

These days you can find a lot out about a person before you meet them. I know that most people will google names of interview candidates or first dates before they meet just to see what they are getting into.

Its a great idea actually. You only have a few moments in your first meeting, that it helps to have that extra bit of info.

Isn't it great to have a God that doesn't have to do this? One who knows us so intimately and yet still loves us and rejoices in all that we do.

I like the thought that I am more to God than just the body that formed in my mothers womb and that I have the possibility to be with God for eternity.

Until Everyone Hears,

Monday, April 4, 2011

Slippery When Wet


"Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! Luke 17:1

I hate admitting my own stupidity. I feel like God has given me much to offer that when I admit Ive fallen, it negates all those good seeds Ive sewn.

So it is with abundant embarrassment that I tell you that I tried to walk on water this weekend and failed miserably. I actually slipped on wet pavement near our garage and fell and broke my wrist. I cried and screamed but am probably hurt more in my pride than any thing else. After all my health problems over the past six months, I hate telling you one more thing thats gone wrong.

I thought about hiding it but its pretty obvious when you see me. All I can do now is listen to the doc and wait to heal.

Jesus says we all will stumble. I'm not sure if he meant it quite so literally but the result is the same. Falling or sinning can be embarrassing and cause woe and cant always be hidden.

Luckily we have a forgiving God who will love us no matter how many times we fall and will make our boo boos all better.

Until Everyone Hears,

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blessings...




Prayer of Thomas Merton

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mine!


"All mine are yours and yours are mine." John 17:1-11

I just finished reading all of the Percy Jackson books due to a recommendation from my son. He had read all of them and thought I would like them and he was right. They are great and entertaining. The stories are about Greek and Roman gods and other mythological creatures. It all comes down to the battle between good and evil but I like the twists that are thrown in that let us know that good and evil aren't always cut and dry.

While reading these books I feel like I need a family tree to keep up. All the gods are related to each other and have various powers and realms. At times it gets confusing.

Our monotheistic trinitarian God isn't quite so simple either. As much as I believe in the Trinity, there are so many times it boggles my mind that I just have to take a break and wish that wikipedia had a diagram (more precise than a triangle or clover).

In the scripture above, Jesus is praying. The concept of Jesus praying is one aspect of the Trinity that I could talk about for quite some time but what I do see here is the one-ness of God.

There is no - Jewish disciples vs gentile disciples. There is no my God vs your God. There is one God for all with a message of love and grace.

Until Everyone Hears,

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thinking of you...




I thank my God every time I remember you. Philippians 1:3

There are some things that, when you think of them, always make you smile. For me I'll always remember the first time I rode a bike without my dad holding on. I remember the first time I drove a car. My first love. My first sermon. My first house.

All of these things make me smile for various reasons. Not necessarily because of the event or the thing itself but because of the memories made in the moments that followed.

Each church that I go to is unique and yet still connected to the love of God. All of them have made me smile because of the people that I meet there and the experiences we have together. The experiences aren't always good but sometimes the hospital visits and personal problems bring us closer together so that when we think of each other we smile because we are so happy that God brought us together - even if it was just for a moment.

The picture here is of the first youth group that I worked with at Brooks UMC. This was my first day and each time I see it I smile and thank God for the memories. All of these kids are grown now. I'm proud of who they've become. I was only in their lives for a short time but I'm thankful for out time together. I think I learned just as much from them as they did from me.

Until Everyone Hears,

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